Mountain biodiversity


Mountains loom large in some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes.
Their unique topography, compressed climatic zones and isolation have created the conditions for a wide spectrum of life forms.

Half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are concentrated in mountains and mountains support approximately one-quarter of terrestrial biological diversity. Mountains are home to rare species of plants and animals. These include increasingly rare animals such as gorillas, mountain lions, and the majestic tahr or strikingly beautiful plants such as orchids and lobelias.

A large portion of the world's most precious gene pools (for agriculture and medicine) are preserved in mountains. Crops that are important for food security, such as maize, potatoes, barley, sorghum, tomatoes, beans and apples, have been diversified in mountains and an array of domestic animals - sheep, goats, yaks, llamas and alpacas - have originated or been diversified in mountains. Other crops, such as wheat, rye, rice, oats and grapes, have found new homes in the mountains and evolved into many varieties. Coffee and tea, with their roots in Ethiopia and the Himalayan region, are mountain crops as well. Medicinal plants are one of the most valuable resources from high altitudes. This rich biodiversity holds cultural, ecological and economic value. In the Andes, for example, farmers know of as many as 200 different varieties of indigenous potatoes and, in Nepal, they farm approximately 2 000 varieties of rice.

Climate change, poverty, commercial mining, logging and poaching all exact a heavy toll on mountain biodiversity. The sustainable management of mountain biodiversity has increasingly been recognized as a global priority. The Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a Programme of Work on Mountain Biological Diversity in 2004, which includes a set of actions and targets addressing characteristics and problems that are specific to mountain ecosystems. 

 

Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

Mountains and Sacred Landscapes

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The India China Institute (ICI) at The New School, the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC), American University’s Center for Latin America and Latino Studies (CLALS) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) announce an international conference on the theme of mountains...

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Fifth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership

Fifth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership

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The Fifth Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership (MP) was to take place 21-22 October 2016 in Mbale, Uganda, but has been postponed to 2017. The new date and venue are to be determined.

This Global Meeting will provide members with an opportunity to discuss delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals,...

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Trailing of the Sheep Festival

Trailing of the Sheep Festival

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The annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival celebrates for the 20th year in three picturesque venues in Idaho's Wood River Valley: Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley. Each fall, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival celebrates the over 150-year tradition of moving sheep, or “trailing”, from high mountain summer pastures down through the...

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Climate change in mountain valleys in Pakistan

Climate change in mountain valleys in Pakistan

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Sardari, Helmat and Taobat are the last three villages in the upper Neelum Valley in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan known for their pristine, moist temperate forests and alpine pastures. In an interview on 24 August 2016 about the impacts of climate change in the valley, Abdul Rehman, a teacher at Government...

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National climate change plans cite mountains

National climate change plans cite mountains

peak to peak

Issue 96 – Month 9 – Year 2016

The September issue of Peak to Peak reveals that 48 countries mentioned mountains in their national climate change plans to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The newsletter continues with stories about an agro-ecology training...

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Mountains at the World Conservation Congress

Mountains at the World Conservation Congress

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This year the World Conservation Congress, hosted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will feature a number of events that address mountains on 1-10 September in Hawaii, USA. The discussions will revolve around the theme of “Planet at the crossroads”, signifying that “the ecosystems...

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